Making a Home by Daniel Adams
My name is Daniel Adams, I am a master’s student in Baylor’s Higher Education & Student Affairs program.
I graduated from Baylor with my undergraduate degree in 2017 and jumped right into this program which means I’ve been in Waco since 2013. I’ve been reflecting on what it means to have a home recently and enigmatic phrases like “bloom where you’re planted” which have become rather salient as my own impending graduation date arrives at a pace rather quicker than I would perhaps be prepared for. Using my own experience, I hope you can find some encouragement for your own life journey.
I entered graduate school believing that it was a liminal space, which was only aided by the fact that it is a 22 month program; it’s quite short! Continuing to us the framework I had used during my undergraduate years, I bought into the understanding that I would only be in Waco for a super short period of time. Why “plant?” My focus could be on my program and making it through and one day, quicker than I knew, I’d be out. I figured that once I got a “real job” then, and perhaps only then, would I be able to pursue the fully realized “adult” life that I had envisioned for myself: regular exercise, cooking all my own meals, heavy involvement in a local congregation, deep friendships, regular Sabbaths, etc. That was reserved for “real” adults and my job was to be in a liminal space that would not allow for those “extra” things.
So the first several months of my graduate experience were consequently hectic, often spent in a crazed frenzy finishing up assignments, doing readings, and balancing my life as a part-time worker-apprentice. Last year I wrote a post about how to manage life when you’re in crisis, which is where I often found myself. I had pursued a very surface-level life in a congregation, lost contact with some friends from undergrad, and had a very inconsistent relationship with my kitchen (but you can bet that sink was clean). I do not mean to belittle the seriousness, difficulty, and strenuous nature of graduate work: it is one of the hardest things I’ve done in my life. But I do not believe we are meant to always be in crisis mode.
It was not until the summer between the spring of my first year and the fall of my second year in the program that I really had a chance to reflect on the life I had been leading for the previous 9 months and I continue to find that while our life roles change and yes, graduate school is a temporary vocational assignment, many of our life roles are impermanent. One day, I will not be a full-time student; one day I will not be a graduate apprentice; one day I will not live in Waco; the very nature of many aspects of human life is often riddled through and through with impermanence; but rather than justify a hands-off approach to life, making it through crisis after crisis, I believe we are invited to pursue the full height and depth of life and love in all of our impermanent circumstances. I often long to find the life-work-home balancing formula that works, has worked, and always will work in all life circumstances. I believe graduate school has taught me that no such formula exists; we are always tweaking it. Just as skills are practiced, ensuring the health and well-being of myself in relation to God and others is a continual learning process.
It is up to me to say how much I give of myself wherever I go. I hope to give more of myself wherever I find myself. Graduate school is a rich opportunity to pursue relationship with others who are in a similar position as well as begin practicing the lifestyles that honor oneself and others. I have far to go but I’m closer to it than I was yesterday or last week, and that’s a win.